The limp signaled the first hint of trouble.
A 3-month old bobcat named Dottie had been limping on her hind legs at her home at the Claws ‘n’ Paws Wild Animal Park in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. Her keepers suspected she had fallen from a fence in her enclosure.
The kitten may not yet have developed the agility and climbing prowess the native North American felines are known for. She and her brother were born at the zoo; their mother died of eclampsia a week later, so the siblings had been hand-raised by humans.
“She is relatively tame … and now has spent a good portion of her time with us,” says zookeeper Lacey Boandl.
The zoo’s local veterinarian was easily able to X-ray Dottie, and found what they believed was a small fracture of the femur in Dottie’s left hind leg. She was referred to Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) for further care.
The result: After successful hip surgery, Dottie is now back at Claws ‘n’ Paws; Boandl and her colleagues have her on an exercise regimen, making the bobcat walk in circles to ensure she continues to strengthen her injured leg.
Lauren Cahoon Roberts is assistant director of communications at the College of Veterinary Medicine.